Ottawa is often referred to as “the city that fun forgot” but we think quite the opposite! With various outdoor escapades, delicious culinary experiences, and some brand new adventures coming to the city, your summer is going to be anything but boring!
With the province currently in Step 1 of the reopening plan, some of the businesses mentioned are in the midst of reopening; however, at this time, a few of the activities have not released official reopening dates. Keep a close eye on each of the respected business’s websites to determine open times throughout the summer. We’ve recommended a variety of fun summertime activities that abide by provincial guidelines. Add these entertaining activities to your summer bucket list and set a goal to cross each of them off the list by the end of summer.
For the Adventure Seekers
The Worlds First Interprovincial Zipline
Make history with the world’s first-ever interprovincial zipline between Ontario and Quebec. View the capital as you’ve never seen it before with an exhilarating ride over the Ottawa river at 40 Km an hour! Due to current restrictions, this zipline adventure is not open yet but claim your spot as one of the first riders by purchasing an advance ticket for $36.99 plus applicable taxes. In addition, Interzip Rogers will implement safety measures outlined by the tourism industries in Ontario and Quebec.
Tour the Ottawa River on a Tiki Tour Boat
No need to fantasize about booking a trip to the tropics when you can book with Ottawa Tiki Tours! Each Hawaiin-styled tiki hut boat can accommodate up to 12 passengers, equipped with a bar, a first-mate and a bartender who will service alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Limited snacks are available for purchase, or guests can bring their own food. Set sail on the Ottawa River with your crew and enjoy the scenery until mid-October.
Beat the heat this summer at Canada’s biggest waterpark, home to the largest wave pool in the country and located just 30 minutes east of the city. This park is child-friendly but also caters to thrill-seekers! It features 35 slides, 100 water games, 2 theme rivers, play areas for young families, 2 VIP Zones and a marvellous selection of restaurants. Note that waterparks are permitted to open in Step 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan, scheduled for July 5th, at which time the park will be allowed to safely reopen.
For those with a Sweet Tooth
Who doesn’t love a frozen treat on a hot summer’s day? Fortunately, there are tons of delicious creameries in the city of Ottawa to satisfy your taste buds.
Moo Shu Ice Cream and Kitchen
One of Ottawa’s most unique ice cream shops, you must try the delicious Asian-inspired ice cream with flavours like Hong Kong milk tea, tang Zhong milk bread, and black sesame. With flavours inspired by the owner’s origin in Hong Kong combined with local produce from Ottawa’s farmers, brewers, jam makers and roasters. Served on a regular cone or bubble waffle cones, Moo Shu utilizes local ingredients and adds a nostalgic twist.
The Merry Dairy
One of the very few places you can find frozen custard in the city, The Merry Dairy is located in the heart of Hintonburg, just west of the downtown core. Owner Marlene Haley creates the flavours based on seasonal fruits, customer requests and flavours that will bring you back to your childhood!
An Italian artisan gelato cafe with sourced raw ingredients directly from Italy to the nation’s capital, this family-run business specializes in luxury gelato. Mantovani originates from Napoli Italy, in 1946, the Mantovani family created their business and today, 2 siblings carry on the tradition right here in the heart of the Byward Market. Their award-winning gelato is crafted from the same production process created by ancient gelato makers.
For the Active and Nature Lovers
Princess Louise Falls
One of Ottawa’s most scenic waterfalls, Princess Louise Falls, is located on the east end of the city in Orleans. It was named after the daughter of Queen Victoria, as it’s said that she loved to paint the falls. It’s a fantastic opportunity to take photos and revel in all that nature has to offer.
Kayak or Canoe at Dows Lake
Take in the sights and sounds as you paddle your way through Dow’s Lake. The Dow Lake Marina is located on the Rideau Canal system between the Ottawa Locks and the Hartwell / Hog’s Back Locks. Available for rent are pedal boats, stand-up paddleboards, canoes and one-person or two-person kayaks. Boaters must be from the same household in order to ride together; paddles and lifejackets are included within the rate. Summertime rentals are available until mid-September.
Whitewater Rafting Adventures on the Ottawa River
Who knew Ottawa is recognized as one of the top white water rafting destinations in the world!? People flock to our city to experience rafting as our versatile waters vary from more family-oriented tours to class III and v rapids in the Ontario wilderness about 1 hour out of the city for the adrenaline junkies! Popular rafting outfitters are; Owl Rafting on the Ottawa River, Ottawa City Rafting, and Wilderness Tours.
Family cycling along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
Stay active as a family while exploring Canada’s capital by cycling along the Rideau Canal bike trail in Downtown Ottawa! Full of kid-friendly sights, Parliament Hill, and a castle-like hotel, this bike trail provides easy access to parks, neighbourhoods, restaurants and attractions.
For the Beach Goers
About 10 minutes from the downtown core, Westboro Beach is located on NCC property at the Kitchissippi Lookout on the Ottawa River for those who don’t want to venture far from downtown. This beach truly has it all; enjoy swimming, volleyball rentals, rollerblading, biking or walking along the Ottawa River Parkway. They even offer food and beverage with their onsite restaurant, the Westboro Beach Cafe. Grab a delicious snack and quench your thirst with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks! Historically, every Saturday night, they have a live reggae band to compliment the tropical atmosphere. Due to current restrictions, there are currently no live events. This cozy beach offers the following amenities; onsite ATM, Café (Cash Only), washroom facilities, change rooms, free parking, and lifeguards on duty daily between noon and 7 pm during the summer season.
Constance Bay Beach
This clean and sandy beach is located up the Ottawa River, about 40 minutes from Ottawa’s downtown core in the quaint village of Constance Bay. This beach is excellent for families as it’s quite shallow. There is public access to the beach. However, many private residents are located along the shore. Parking is free, and there are two public outhouses adjacent to the parking lot. It’s also important to note that there are no lifeguards on site. Alcohol, unleashed pets and fires are strictly prohibited.
Catch a stunning sunset on one of Petrie Island’s three sandy beaches! The islands are 12,000 years old and span 2 kilometres in length; take advantage of the surrounding nature trails, relax on the beach or rent a stand-up paddleboard or volleyball net. Parking is affordable at $2 for every 5 hours between 7 am and 6 pm, seven days a week, and it’s free outside of those hours. Ensure you leave your furry friends at home as dogs aren’t permitted anywhere on the beach for conservation purposes. Petrie Island is located just 25 minutes from the downtown core.
For the those looking for some R&R
The Drive-In Experience Ottawa
Winner of Faces Ottawa, 2021 Best Summer Attraction, The Drive-In Experience Ottawa has 2 locations; 1 in Ottawa’s west end at Wesley Clover Park and the second location being the RCFT Park parking lot. It’s a great activity where people can gather in the comfort of their vehicles and enjoy some of their favourite movies while abiding by provincial guidelines. With 5 movie showings every week and one movie playing every night, drive-in, sit back and enjoy the show!
Koena in Hawaain means balance; the team at Koena Spa is dedicated to finding your well-being at this stunning spa located just 5 minutes from downtown Ottawa, in Gatineau, Quebec. Enjoy the thermal experience that this nordic spa offers, including; 3 hot pools, 1 cold pool, 3 dry saunas, 1 hammam, and 14 massage and treatments rooms. Reenergize yourself at Bistro Koena with a variety of quality and fresh menu offerings. Eat, drink and relax on the outdoor terrace or the indoor dining option.
Nestled in the picturesque village of Old Chelsea in the Outaouais region on the outskirts of Gatineau Park, Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest spa in North America.
This relaxation and wellness centre focuses on thermotherapy and relaxation techniques, offering a multisensory experience in a natural setting. Our goal is to improve your health and well-being.
Discover Ottawa Farmer’s Markets
Ottawa’s agricultural sector is prosperous, with close to 300,000 acres of land farmed by more than 1,300 farming operations and employing approximately 10,000 people. With abundant local and fresh produce and products, discover one of Ottawa’s many outdoor Farmer’s Markets in Westboro, Lansdowne, Orleans and Barrhaven. The Ottawa Farmer’s Market features over 150 vendors within a 100 km radius of the nation’s capital.
Ottawa is heating up, and adventure awaits you! As mentioned above, please check on business websites to determine availability, hours of operation and COVID-19 rules and regulations. We hope this list provides you with some fun summer activities to take advantage of the season and enjoy the offerings within the beautiful city of Ottawa.